After failing to win their third consecutive NBA championship, the Golden State Warriors took another huge blow in the 2019 NBA offseason when Kevin Durant signed a four-year, $164 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets. Luckily for the Warriors, instead of losing Durant as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return, they managed to acquire All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade deal with the Nets.
Russell will undeniably be an incredible addition to Warriors, giving them an All-Star caliber talent that can somewhat fill the void left by Kevin Durant on the offensive end of the floor. However, with the presence of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State’s backcourt, most people don’t see Russell as the player that the Warriors need to reclaim the NBA championship in the 2019-20 NBA season. In a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Marc Stein of The New York Times revealed that Russell may not stay long in Golden State as the Warriors are planning to move him to another team.
“D’Angelo Russell does not fit there whatsoever,” Stein said, as quoted by RealGM.com. “They just did not want to see Kevin Durant walk out the door with no compensation…. They will trade him. It’s just a matter of when.”
Latest ESPN story on Warriors/Nets finalizing the sign-and-trade for D'Angelo Russell and his $117M max contract. https://t.co/T2ZXsGiZzb— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2019
D’Angelo Russell is indeed an intriguing acquisition for the Warriors, but to strengthen their chance of returning to the NBA Finals and bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy next season, they may be better off acquiring a player that can replace Kevin Durant in their wing. Once he becomes available on the trading block, several NBA teams who are in dire need of a starting caliber point guard are expected to express strong interest in adding Russell to their roster. According to Liam McKeone of The Big Lead, one of the potential trade partners for the Warriors in the deal involving Russell is the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“The Wolves had the best odds of landing Russell before the news broke he would be traded to Golden State, and they remain the best trade partner. They have a need at point guard and for another creator outside of franchise superstar Karl Anthony-Towns [sic]. Russell is a pure scorer who can space the floor and make plays for himself when the offense breaks down. Even better, he’s the same age as Towns, and they’re apparently pretty good friends.”
Since the 2018-19 NBA season officially ended, All-Star center Towns has been urging the Timberwolves to make a strong push for Russell in the 2019 NBA free agency. Now that the door could potentially open for them to team up, Towns will surely not let the opportunity pass the convince the Timberwolves to bring Russell to Minnesota.
To acquire D’Angelo Russell from the Timberwolves, McKeone suggested that the Timberwolves could explore a trade package centered on former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins is still far from reaching the level of Kevin Durant, but playing under Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr in a new environment could help him unleash his full potential and speed up his development into a legitimate NBA superstar in the league.